best kayak for large dog

Hi all. I am looking for suggestions on best kayaks for me to take my dog out on. He’s an 80lb labrador, and i’d like to have room for him to sit/down in FRONT of me so i can keep an eye on him. I’ve had him in an inflatable but don’t want to push my luck with that. I already have a sit in, and it’s too narrow for him to join me, so figured a sit on top? Have limited budget. Suggestions appreciated. Thanks. Ellen

dog boat
The longest cockpit I’ve seen on a sit-inside single kayak is the Jackson Day Tripper:

I carry one or two 75-pound dogs in a small canoe.


The best kayak for a big dog
is a canoe.

If you prefer a kayak paddle, look into pack canoes that are smaller, and designed to be paddled with a kayak paddle.


Old Town Loon 160T
is what I’ve been using for years with my dog (probably right around 80 lbs). A canoe would be good too I’m sure, but we have a good time of it. Easy for me to control, very stable, good boat for that purpose. They’ve been around for a while, so I think it would be easy to find a used one around. It’s durable, wide, a lot of plastic, so make sure you’re tough enough to manage the weight and still enjoy it. Just another option to consider.

How big is the Dog?
What’s his/her experience level?

Where will he/she be paddling?

Does he/she know the “doggie paddle”?

If so, is a kayak really necessary?

Ok, so with a large dog in any boat, a capsize is always possible. With a kayak and large cockpit completelt filling up with water. . .good luck emptying the boat fo water and re-entering. Assume a canoe is smarter?

Probably a tandem boat
for that large of a dog. Although there are other kayaks with large cockpits like the Pungos that would probably work.


Deep-water self-rescue is very difficult with either a large-cockpit recreational kayak or a canoe.

More likely than capsizing is having your dog jump out. It’s almost impossible to get a dog that size back in a canoe by yourself(never tried it with a kayak). Your best bet is to head to shore to regroup.

I’d be more worried
about which type of paddle would suit him better!

I did do a rescue

– Last Updated: Aug-26-09 4:32 PM EST –

last fall. My dog (Otis)and another large adult chocolate lab (Casey) and I were paddling back from the beach. Someone pulled the classic slow all the way down coming right next to us, and then taking off quickly. (good intentions lacking good thought process - I'm sure it happens to all of us at times) My dog Otis understands how this wake thing works, but Casey was still a rookie. Over she went, and I watched carefully so that I could compensate for her lunge off the side of the kayak along with the wakes. Otis seemed to roll his eyes from the opposite side of the kayak as she swam back towards us. She was still confused as to why she was the only one in the drink. Casey's owner was there in a solo kayak, so I had her hold the opposite edge of the Loon while I layed back in the water, wrapped my arms around Casey's ribs from around her back, and lifted her back in. I imagine rescuing a person unable to hoist themselves back into an open hull tandem would be similar, only more difficult if either party happened to panic.

The most interesting part of all this is the similarity between Casey, the tensed up pooch, and a tensed up person. I've watched many people pull a Casey, lunging themselves over into the water when all they had to do was relax, maybe give a little appropriate control to the edges, but more often just let the boat ride underneath of them. It's worth thinking about.
But a rescue is a rescue. It's not all that uncommon to see people who would present much more difficulty than an 80 lb dog. The most serious rescues I can imagine, where someone has become more helpless than a dog, might make you glad you had the experience.

alternate doggie accomodations
Wish I’d had my camera with me 3 summers ago when I spotted an unusual craft cruising along near the bank of one of the local rivers I paddle: a guy in a large plastic rec boat towing a decked float ring (looked like a truck inner tube.) He’d rigged a harness with nylon ski rope strung through 1/2 PVC pipe to keep the float in line and not bumping his boat. The float had a scrap of what looked like indoor/outdoor carpet attached to it and there was another piece of rug lashed to the stern deck of his kayak. As he merrily paddled along, two medium sized dogs of unidentifiable heritage jumped on and off the two platforms, paddling along beside him or just lounging on the rugs like Cleopatra on her barge. Hilarious! Wouldn’t work in rough water but the three of them sure looked like they were having a good time.

How come I never see stuff like that when I have the camera with me? Like the sunny Sunday afternoon I encountered a young Hasidic Jewish family, dad in his homburg hat and knee-length black overcoat, mom in her headscarf and demure corduroy jumper plus 5 children under twelve, paddling in a pool of the upper Hudson river in a rented dory covered with garishly painted hippie graffito – day-glo flowers, peace symbols and yin-yang symbols. Dad seated proudly in the bow, mom in the stern and the kids giggling and splashing and fighting over the oars as they rowed in endless circles. Don’t think I’ve ever seen a happier family outing in a more incongruous boat. Alas, no camera!

kayak / dog?
Leave him home. He’ll be happier and so will you. Then get a canoe.

I agree
a sit on top sounds like a good bet though it limits you to warm weather.

The Fishing forum might be a good place to ask this question as kayak fisher types typically do SOT’s.

Or google Duck, waterfowl hunting forums.

Personally my biggest issue with SOT’s is weight. If you are a pretty big strapping in shape guy with a good back you’ll be ok. If you need a lighter SOT that works the price goes up.

The dog question comes up a lot. I would love to see manufacture’s keep our furry friends in mind.

Thank you for this question
My wife and I are trying to figue what kayak to take our 70 pound Golden in. I figure I will have to paddle with the dog and she in her CD Squamish. I reckon she will leave me in her wake. We are thinking about a Pungo, however the other kayaks are good suggestion and we will look into them.

What is a canoe ?

There might be a reason that one
doesn’t see a lot of dogs in paddle craft on the water. It’s not the dogs, it’s the inability of owners to train the dogs.

Dogs are wonderfully trainable.

I agree
We sell the Jackson Kayak line and I would agree with the Daytripper being a good choice. It has a large cockpit area for your dog to sit and for you to still have room to be comfortable and have gear. The weight depends on the size of the Daytripper you pick. If you check out their website, you can see pics and I think there are even some in there with dogs in the cockpit.

Perception Prodigy 13.5…?

– Last Updated: Jul-18-13 11:22 PM EST –

Resurecting an old thread. Anyone tried this boat? I'm expecting to get a dog in the next few months, and will be looking forward to training, and then paddling. This boat looks pretty apt. With its sliding seat, could be pretty versatile:

It reminds me of the Pamilico tandem/convertable, but, is lighter and less expensive.

I also noted the Jackson Day Tripper 12:

But, this one's wider, uglier, no hatch, and the comfort seat is too lounge-like.

No, not into canoes, nor full tandem kayaks.

[Huh. Maybe old threads can not be resurected.]

I been using a sit on top kayak from wilderness systems for several yers now, and it works really well…Super stable and versatile…

dog boat
check out

we put our two dogs on it, its stable, easy to tow and they (the dogs) love it